Saturday, January 31, 2009

tomato wars

I went shopping for groceries - at Sobey's - shopping for the 100 Mile Diet seems well nigh impossible. But I had driven past a green house with tomatoes on my way. There were five kinds of tomatoes laid out in the shop. Even though the signs said "Grown in Canada" the stickers on the fruit clearly said "Mexico". The green grocer was arranging the red orbs. So I said that I wanted tomatoes grown in Canada.
"These are all Mexican."
"So I see."
"This is January". I definitely knew that.
"Yes", I replied, picking up a plastic container, "but these are hot house tomatoes and we have green houses."
Yes, but the Super Store (the competitor) has all the contracts for all the green houses all tied up."
This is a cut throat business. Tomato wars, and who knows what else.

I bought the package.

Friday, January 30, 2009

and the kitchen sink

Finally, finally, my mental health project is a reality. On Novemebr 20 I showed you the old sink and counter. They had been hauled out of a garage. There was no, no way to keep it clean despite the yellow paint that a dear friend painted over the crud earlier this year. Here is the new sink and counter. I left earlier than I thought I would on Wednesday for Nova Scotia. I tried to beat a storm and I almost, but not quite made it. Getting over the mountain was a little white knuckly. But when I came in the door and saw the project installed - it was heaven, well a dry heaven, there was no water, not just in the sink, but in the whole house.

By late evening the blizzard was roaring through. The house made such a noise in the wind, that sleep was impossible. Morning brought sunshine and glare ice, but the roof was intact. Still no water. I thought that I had frozen pipes because it had been so cold - but the house wasn't cold. By evening a couple of guys came to my rescue. The pressure tank had a blocked valve. I never would have figured that out. I washed my dishes in my new sink. And now to pay the cabinet maker.

I came back a day early. Today was lovely, but with snow forecast for tomorrow I decided that six hours driving through it was not my idea of fun. I was more than half way home, when listening to the radio, I heard that the forecast had been downgraded. I am here now, back in Sussex.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

free living

This is a window in the local library. I really don't know why we don't have to line up and take numbers to get into the library. It should be over crowded. Instead it is a quiet oasis. I depend on the library for my entertainment - I take out DVDs to watch on my laptop, CDs, I just got one by k.d. lang, "hymns of the 49th parallel. I'll down load it onto my laptop and then transfer it to my cell phone. And books: cook books, gardening books, history books, art books, exercise books and of course novels to veg out with. I have cooked exotic food, designed gardens, taken drawing lessons and immersed myself in Russian history. I am still working on a needlework pattern that I got from a library three years ago - but that's another story. Everything is free - including the big easy chairs for reading the newspapers and the magazines. What a deal! Maybe I shouldn't be telling anyone.

Monday, January 26, 2009

dream picture

This is taken from the bridge as was the picture from January 7. The winter is now deeper and colder.

I had a dream. There was no ice and no snow, so that should have alerted me to the fact that I was dreaming. I was standing on the shore and a lovely seal swam up to within a few feet of me. I immediately thought that I should take a picture of the animal for the blog to show you all. It took me a while to find my camera, but when I did, I think that the seal had disappeared. Anyway, for technical reasons, the picture seems to have disappeared too, so there is nothing to show you.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

bare naked statue revisited

I took this as I walked by the little statue this afternoon. This is the same little garden ornament that I showed on January 16. Statues are amusing in the winter with the snow covering naked limbs; or the noble statues in the city squares with the pigeons sitting on the head and the droppings staining down the face and shoulders. I remember our Canadian Sir John A MacDonald with his friendly pigeons. I also remember the story that I heard when I was a child about someone the family knew who was in an automobile accident. He was knocked unconscious and laid out on the grass by the statue at the cenotaph - an angel hovering over a marching Great War soldier, Westmount, Quebec. He came to and looked up and saw the angel above him. He thought that he had died.

Saturday, January 24, 2009


To begin with I have been going to "Curves", a women's gym, and it has made no difference to my girth. But as of yesterday I don't feel too badly about this state of affairs because a learned Alzheimer Disease researcher was on the radio saying that thirty minutes of strength and cardio exercise three times a week was the best known defense against the disease. This has given me new encouragement.

Now to back up, a friend gave me a bag of placemats to take to the Thrift Shop. While there I just had to look at the racks and came up with two great finds. One was a new silk oriental jacket. The other was a crushed mauve "velvet" pant suit. So then the jacket needed pants and the suit needed a white tee with neck detail. This plunged me into actually having to shop for clothes.

Today, on the way to the gym, I stopped into the classy women's shop. I need a petite. I tried a 14 - definitely a no go. I tried a 16 - still no go. They didn't have an 18. I'm feeling somewhat deflated. But after much searching I did find a 14 with a different cut, not nearly as nice and with a regular length leg. It fitted well and was the cheapest, which is something.

So the legs were too long and I hemmed them this afternoon. But when you live alone and without a full length mirror, the length is a matter of guess work.

This still left the "little" shirt to go under suit jacket/shirt. I had to go to the only other place in town, Walmart's. I absolutely detest Walmart's. My usual clothing shop is Mark's Work Warehouse, (nice undies) but sometimes I have to be a little more upscale. I did find a shirt, not what I had in mind, but it will do. And a found a red shirt for $4.00 for the Valentine's party.

So I have two new outfits and a red blast of a shirt, and there you are: a clothes horse, I am.

Friday, January 23, 2009

icy pine

The ice is still on the trees. When a breeze moves through this pine by my front stairs, it sounds like tiny bells. It was very cold today. It is supposed to rain tomorrow and then be very cold on Sunday. I have been told that it is only us northerners who always comment on the weather. When we talk to strangers, we talk about the weather. It is always changing and it is what we have in common. We are never at a loss for words.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

ice light

These lights are outside the town hall. I was walking to a meeting the evening before last and loved the light coming through the icicles hanging from the globes. if you click the picture it will fill your screen.

And I'm blown away by this Obama guy. Our CBC streamed him live giving his foreign policy speech this afternoon. There is hope for us all.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

kitchen maple revisited again

This is the third picture that I have taken out my kitchen window. This was just after sunrise this morning. There's a bit of ice. The emergency rooms are filled with victims with broken bones. It is a dangerous beauty.

dreaming of summer

Here is a little summer film to lift our spirits.

I, too, went to Northern Ontario, and there were blackflies. But then I've been well bitten in Quebec and Nova Scotia, too.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

on the peak

This is my number one son on the peak of Aconcagua, the highest mountain in the Americas. He came back just before Christmas, but didn't get his pictures out until this weekend.

I taught him everything I know: be careful, don't slip and dress warmly. I'm taking full credit.

Monday, January 19, 2009

blessing the waters

So my Protestant church didn't buy blessing Trout Creek - but my sister's church on the Old Calendar - being chronologically challenged, they are always two weeks late - blessed the waters yesterday. It looks very Russian - but it is Lake Ontario. The usual feasting followed. The Orthodox get it right.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

blue chair

The blue chair project and the first coat is on. Okay, I know that some of you might recognize this chair. I'll bring it back. I promise. After I do the mosaic.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

chasing the drip

Of course I put out fresh water for this cat, But she spends hours batting the perpetual drip and then pauses for a drink. She often snuggles up to me. When I reach out to pet her, I find that her ears are wet. Then I know where she's been playing.

Today I am going to paint a chair. Pictures to follow. I lead such an exciting life.

Friday, January 16, 2009

bare naked

I went out to start my little car this morning. It took three tries in the cold. Here, unlike Northern Ontario, no one has block heaters, and while I do, there is no place to plug it in. When my engine finally turned over I let it run for a minute while a snapped a picture of this bare naked little garden statue, which is next to the parking lot. Standing in the shade of the maple trunk, it doesn't even benefit from the sun. The coldest days have the most brilliant sunshine. Tomorrow promises to be the same. Have you folks west of here come to the end of this snap? It is summer somewhere.

Thursday, January 15, 2009


It's -31 outside. I'm just in from an evening meeting. I relented and instead of walking, I drove over to the church after filling up, because I was near the half way point. In the cold it is not wise to have a low tank. On the weather map the extreme col spreads from Alberta to Newfoundland. Nevertheless the cats seem to hold me personally responsible for the weather every time I open the door and they change their minds about going out.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


Saturday I walked through the forest down to the bluffs. This is my land, but how can one own land? I only have its stewardship for a time. There is something about standing on top of the bluffs with the ocean pounding below that gives me such energy, such a wonderful high.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

relaxing days in the country

My son has told me that with a title like "Dancing in the Holy Circle" that people log on expecting Wican or Pagan content, and instead they get my home renovation reports. It must be really disappointing.

I had a half painted kitchen floor - so I took the paint I had - and painted the other half. I painted green, crimson, brown, grey, dark yellow and lots of bare boards. Now the kitchen is only two colours and much cleaner. Then I took on the bathroom and primed it all and then painted the ceiling. People say to me: "Oh you're going home. Have a wonderful relaxing time." Each stroke of the paint brush brings me one step closer to a finished house - my home.
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Thursday, January 8, 2009


I even know how to spell it! Christmas has been put away, but what about this plant? It's got months left in it. It threatens to be here for Easter. I just watered it. I really can't just toss it.

The storm is clearing out and it looks like I can get away for my Nova Scotia home early tomorrow. So postings will be sporadic, if at all, until I get back.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

बॉडी ऑफ़ water

No matter what I did when I wrote the title it refused to come out in English! This is the Trout Creek that didn't get blessed yesterday. I took this just before the latest storm began. You can see that a storm is brewing. It certainly felt like it. All day people remarked to each other that a storm was coming. They could feel it. It is true. We can feel a storm coming on, but there is no way to actually describe the feeling.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009


So we were having coffee in the church office this morning when I mentioned that it was Theophany and we should be putting on our robes and going down to Trout Creek, dip in the cross, bless the water and then ... they looked at me askance ... then I said we go have a feast. Protestants just don't know how to have fun.

This is Epiphany, the Twelth Day of Christmas, and the day the decorations come down. I took this picture just before I took down my wreath.

Monday, January 5, 2009

no rest

Well, there is no rest for the wicked. It is "get back to work day" - the sublime and the ridiculous of working in a church - more ridiculous than sublime. If the weather holds, I do hope to go back home for the weekend and then to a lecture in Halifax on Monday evening. And today I noticed that the light stayed for a little longer in the afternoon. There is hope, but I don't want to wish my life away.

Sunday, January 4, 2009


One of my sisters gave me the "Synaxarion" for Christmas. She told me that she was going to test me. Four days into the year and I have been deligient in my reading. Two days ago I was reading it at 3:23 a.m.. I have been emailing her flipiant comments on the daily saints just so as she knows that I have been engaged in the daily readings. In reading hagiography with a logical, rather than a mythic mind, it is easy to see the deficiencies. But the stories of saints are not history, but stories to edify the faithful. So while I snickered when I read that Saint Basil the Great, January 1, returned from being away to study to find that his mother and sister had turned their, and his, home into a convent. I mean I could imagine returning from university to my home in Montreal to find that my mother and sister (which one, I wonder) had turned our house into a convent - well what about my dad and what about my bedroom?! That is looking at it through logical modern eyes, but with the eyes of faith to illustarted the sancity of the entire family - many of whom became recognized saints.
There is something that really does bother me. It seems that sainthood involves "fasting, prayer and the labours of the ascetic life." It seems to make a two tiered system, the holy people who are totally devoted to the labours of prayer, meditation etc. and the rest of us who work out our salvation or enlightenment, or not, in the turmoil of the world. This isn't just in Orthodoxy, but in the eastern religions as well. What about the rest of us who keep things running. Surely if "God' is just, then sanctity has to be available to us all. Otherwise I will just stamp my foot and protest the unfairness of it all.
Yet I do know that the door to holiness is open to us all, whatever our lot, because our sanctification must be worked out within our circumstances.

Saturday, January 3, 2009


I had a narrow scrap of fabric and the kitchen windows looked so bare. So I sewed it up and made a couple of valences. It has been many years since I have been able to put together something like this. It was my little thrill of the day.

Friday, January 2, 2009


My grandmother's legacy to us was an obscure French card game, which we all play. This Christmas holiday I began to teach the seven year old. We keep up the tradition. It's a two person game played with the coin of the realm. This means that I have played for pennies, Canadian and American, for colones, for pesos, for pesetas, for francs, etc.. But we have reformed and put our gambling past behind us. So this year we put our winnings (or loses, depending) into the pot. In the end there was just under $2.00 in small change. I was charged, perhaps because I had lost the most often, to deposit the ill gotten gains, which I did, today, into the box at the coffee shop. They collect to send children to summer camp.

Now the other day I saw a bald headed eagle soaring over this same coffee shop. Perhaps this is an omen.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

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January 1

Three calendars this year - thanks so very much. I hung them this morning becasue, as we all know, it is very unlucky to hang calendars before the beginning of the year. And this year, for the very first time, I think, I mean to have all my ducks in a row. Well, actually, that is not my New Year's resolution. That particular item will remain a secret. We'll see how I get on with it before letting you in on it. However, getting really organized might be a secondary goal.